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The Long Black Veil

By: m. wilkens & d. dill
Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me
The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you wont have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For Id been in the arms of my best friends wife
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
Oh, the scaffold is high and eternitys near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But late at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries ovre my bones
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
Oh, the scaffold is high and eternitys near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But late at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries ovre my bones

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Long Black Veil

Ten years ago on a cold dark night
Someone was killed beneath the townhall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran looked a lot like me
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me
The judge said son, what is your aliby?
If you were somewhere else, then you wont have to die.
I said not a word, though it meant my life,
For Id been in the arms of my best friends wife.
Oh, she walks these hills in a long black veil.
She visits my grave when the night winds wail.
Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.
Oh, now the scaffold is high, eternity is near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
And sometimes at night when the cold winds blow
In a long black veil she cries over my bones.
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.
Oh, she walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.
Nobody knows. nobody knows, but me.
Nobody knows but me.

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Man In The Long Black Coat

Crickets are chirpin, the water is high
Theres a soft cotton dress on the line hangin dry
The windows wide open, african trees
Bent over backwards from a hurricane breeze
Not a word of goodbye, not even a note
Shed gone with the man in the long black coat
Somebody seen him hangin around
At the old dance hall on the outskirts of town
He looked into her eyes when she stopped him to ask
If he wanted to dance, he had a face like a mask
Somebody said from the Bible hed quote
There was dust on the man in the long black coat
Preacher was a-talkin, theres a sermon he gave
He said every mans conscience is vile and depraved
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When its you who must keep it satisfied
It aint easy to swallow, it sticks in the throat
She gave her heart to the man in the long black coat
There are no mistakes in life, some people say
And its true sometimes, you can see it that way
But people dont live or die, people just float
She went with the man in the long black coat
Theres smoke on the water, its been there since june
Treetrunks uprooted neath the high crescent moon
Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumblin force
Somebody is out there beating on a dead horse
She never said nothin, there was nothin she wrote
Shed gone with the man in the long black coat

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Patrick White

Not A Black Wind On A Blue Day

Not a black wind on a blue day
but definitely grey.
Enter image of a slumping gas pump
with red paint flaking off it
and a coca cola sign just as old
hanging lop-sided
above an abandoned grocery store
across a small wooden bridge on a dirt road
beside an old stone mill with a seized waterwheel
that stopped turning in the flow of the river a long time ago.
Now take it a step further
and try to imagine a black pot-belly stove
in the middle of the wooden-floored grocery store
with people warming their hands around it
like petals turned toward
this black sun that shines at midnight
almost cast iron cherry red when its stoked
with two year old red oak
and it's snowing thick and heavy outside
as if someone got into a pillow fight with swans
and there's an orange-apricot glow
ripening on the drifts under the storefront windows,
that tints the blue snow
towards its complementary violet
and everything looks like a picture-perfect oil painting
on a nineteen-fifties Christmas card.
And there are people inside. Can you see them?
They look like dark, habitable planets transiting the light
of another star seventy-one light years from here.
Silhouettes of men who are always wiping their hands on a rag
as if they just finished fixing something,
farm wives asking the grocery clerk
who cooked which pie
and whose were selling the most,
kids as impatient as snowballs
waiting for their skates to be sharpened
that expect you to use your imagination
to fill in the negative spaces
and give them the benefit of the doubt as to the rest.
The river that runs beside the mill
isn't all that wide but it canters
over a Stonehenge of creek stones
like a blue-black anthracite horse
with a white mane
that's no longer harnessed
to the tyranny of equinoctial wheels.
And I'd expect to see more trucks
than cars parked outside
and feel that everybody
took a secret pride in being trusted enough
to pump their own gas
and have their word taken for the amount.
And stepping inside out of the cold
through a doorway that triggered a bell
to call someone out of a dark backroom
to greet you like a friend they've been meaning
to ask about cutting swamp wood
when the ice grows thicker
and your brother's hauled in
enough to spare the Clydesdales
before they ask you what they can help you with
as they're already pulling
what they know you want
off the shelves and piling it on the counter,
I can smell the wet wool
as the snow melts on their shoulders,
smoke and ashes of acrid oak,
kerosene, gas, metallic sorrows
everyone stores in the corners of their mind
and seldom talks about
like the wreck of a tractor
that turned over on their father and crushed him
trying to pull off the road up a slope
into that first year's planting of cattle corn,
and even though it's been tarred and feathered
by years of pigeon shit and straw
one day they're going to fix it
as soon as the part that's missing like their father
they've put on order comes in.
Sitting like owls on the counter
to keep the pigeons away
two fat, unconcerned farm cats
who hunt the deer mice and river rats
through the badlands of the bags of grain
slumped like corpses on top of one another
in the storage sheds out back.
The smell of wet sawdust, savaged wood,
and a confidence in the air like pipe smoke
or the billowing chimney
of a lone farmhouse in the distance
on a cold, dark night
where a man steps out onto the porch
in his work shirt
and looks long and hard at the stars
like someone who knows tools
and doesn't doubt
if you keep the big questions in life
close to home in a clearing among the trees
there's not much
that can't be reasonably resolved
by a fan-belt, a new timing chain,
a fifty-two Ford pick-up and a timber-mill
that was always thumbs up about the future
in a tried and trued way you could count on
like the number of fingers you had left.
Patti Page, Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams,
McCarthy, the Red Scare, Korea,
and the uprooted stumps of the farmboy vets
not even a decade back from World War II,
still learning what they can do
without this arm or that leg
if you wanted to look at it in a historical context.
John Diefenbaker was the prime minister of Canada,
but basically political opinions were undergarments
you kept to yourself for fear of offending
your neighbour's sensibilities
as they sloshed the crabapple wine
for a second time over the rim of your glass.
But that's not to say there wasn't the occasional bad ass
looking for a casus belli to start a brawl
in the Friday night hotel
where his son was the bouncer
and the cop who came into stop it, his cousin.
Pigeon-holed doves of mail in envelope tuxedos
that knew how to write an address
as beautifully and clearly
as someone who knew how to tie
a double Windsor knot properly.
And it's not hard to imagine
what was conveyed by fountain pens
that slipped quietly through the local news
like loons and birch bark canoes
like the MacLeans' Method of Hand Writing
with inkwells and nibs,
the tentative proposals of an epistolary romance,
the shock of sudden deaths
on the periphery of tribal families
and the grandmothers that aged like shamans
who saw to the funeral arrangements
and remembered the childhoods of the deceased
long after anyone else could
and what songs and wildflowers they liked the most.
The intimate up close business of the cell
attending to its own farm-sized affairs
that could tell by the light through the trees at night
it's got a neighbour, and both belong to a bigger body
though it's the elephant in the dark for most
and everyone's opinion is shaped
by the part they're holding on to the hardest.
Now the lights go out.
The people disappear like breath on air.
The kids have grown and some of their kids
still live around here on potluck crannies of land
and some, like the last son to leave, have inherited the farm,
but most have moved into town or the city
to save the long drive to take their kids
to dance and judo lessons, hockey games
and left the fields unrocked in the spring
and bridges, gas pumps,
waterwheels, and grocery stores
to the spiders and mice and birds
that stayed for the winter,
to collapse under the weight of snow on the roof,
as the sun and rain warp the grey boards
into insurrections against the old fashioned nails
that kept things together awhile
like bridges and grocery stores
with only three flavours of ice-cream,
vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry,
and lives that were no longer tenable
once the fruit stopped dropping
close to the tree in their dream.
And the thick heavy snow
buried them like seldom-used bridges
on the back roads of the unpeopled silence
that takes their absence for granted.

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Byron

Don Juan: Canto The Thirteenth

I now mean to be serious;--it is time,
Since laughter now-a-days is deem'd too serious.
A jest at Vice by Virtue's call'd a crime,
And critically held as deleterious:
Besides, the sad's a source of the sublime,
Although when long a little apt to weary us;
And therefore shall my lay soar high and solemn,
As an old temple dwindled to a column.

The Lady Adeline Amundeville
('Tis an old Norman name, and to be found
In pedigrees, by those who wander still
Along the last fields of that Gothic ground)
Was high-born, wealthy by her father's will,
And beauteous, even where beauties most abound,
In Britain - which of course true patriots find
The goodliest soil of body and of mind.

I'll not gainsay them; it is not my cue;
I'll leave them to their taste, no doubt the best:
An eye's an eye, and whether black or blue,
Is no great matter, so 'tis in request,
'Tis nonsense to dispute about a hue -
The kindest may be taken as a test.
The fair sex should be always fair; and no man,
Till thirty, should perceive there 's a plain woman.

And after that serene and somewhat dull
Epoch, that awkward corner turn'd for days
More quiet, when our moon's no more at full,
We may presume to criticise or praise;
Because indifference begins to lull
Our passions, and we walk in wisdom's ways;
Also because the figure and the face
Hint, that 'tis time to give the younger place.

I know that some would fain postpone this era,
Reluctant as all placemen to resign
Their post; but theirs is merely a chimera,
For they have pass'd life's equinoctial line:
But then they have their claret and Madeira
To irrigate the dryness of decline;
And county meetings, and the parliament,
And debt, and what not, for their solace sent.

And is there not religion, and reform,
Peace, war, the taxes, and what's call'd the 'Nation'?
The struggle to be pilots in a storm?
The landed and the monied speculation?
The joys of mutual hate to keep them warm,
Instead of love, that mere hallucination?
Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure;
Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

Rough Johnson, the great moralist, profess'd,
Right honestly, 'he liked an honest hater!'-
The only truth that yet has been confest
Within these latest thousand years or later.
Perhaps the fine old fellow spoke in jest:-
For my part, I am but a mere spectator,
And gaze where'er the palace or the hovel is,
Much in the mode of Goethe's Mephistopheles;

But neither love nor hate in much excess;
Though 'twas not once so. If I sneer sometimes,
It is because I cannot well do less,
And now and then it also suits my rhymes.
I should be very willing to redress
Men's wrongs, and rather check than punish crimes,
Had not Cervantes, in that too true tale
Of Quixote, shown how all such efforts fail.

Of all tales 'tis the saddest - and more sad,
Because it makes us smile: his hero 's right,
And still pursues the right;- to curb the bad
His only object, and 'gainst odds to fight
His guerdon: 'tis his virtue makes him mad!
But his adventures form a sorry sight;
A sorrier still is the great moral taught
By that real epic unto all who have thought.

Redressing injury, revenging wrong,
To aid the damsel and destroy the caitiff;
Opposing singly the united strong,
From foreign yoke to free the helpless native:-
Alas! must noblest views, like an old song,
Be for mere fancy's sport a theme creative,
A jest, a riddle, Fame through thin and thick sought!
And Socrates himself but Wisdom's Quixote?

Cervantes smiled Spain's chivalry away;
A single laugh demolish'd the right arm
Of his own country;- seldom since that day
Has Spain had heroes. While Romance could charm,
The world gave ground before her bright array;
And therefore have his volumes done such harm,
That all their glory, as a composition,
Was dearly purchased by his land's perdition.

I'm 'at my old lunes'- digression, and forget
The Lady Adeline Amundeville;
The fair most fatal Juan ever met,
Although she was not evil nor meant ill;
But Destiny and Passion spread the net
(Fate is a good excuse for our own will),
And caught them;- what do they not catch, methinks?
But I 'm not OEdipus, and life's a Sphinx.

I tell the tale as it is told, nor dare
To venture a solution: 'Davus sum!'
And now I will proceed upon the pair.
Sweet Adeline, amidst the gay world's hum,
Was the Queen -Bee, the glass of all that 's fair;
Whose charms made all men speak, and women dumb.
The last's a miracle, and such was reckon'd,
And since that time there has not been a second.

Chaste was she, to detraction's desperation,
And wedded unto one she had loved well -
A man known in the councils of the nation,
Cool, and quite English, imperturbable,
Though apt to act with fire upon occasion,
Proud of himself and her: the world could tell
Nought against either, and both seem'd secure -
She in her virtue, he in his hauteur.

It chanced some diplomatical relations,
Arising out of business, often brought
Himself and Juan in their mutual stations
Into close contact. Though reserved, nor caught
By specious seeming, Juan's youth, and patience,
And talent, on his haughty spirit wrought,
And form'd a basis of esteem, which ends
In making men what courtesy calls friends.

And thus Lord Henry, who was cautious as
Reserve and pride could make him, and full slow
In judging men - when once his judgment was
Determined, right or wrong, on friend or foe,
Had all the pertinacity pride has,
Which knows no ebb to its imperious flow,
And loves or hates, disdaining to be guided,
Because its own good pleasure hath decided.

His friendships, therefore, and no less aversions,
Though oft well founded, which confirm'd but more
His prepossessions, like the laws of Persians
And Medes, would ne'er revoke what went before.
His feelings had not those strange fits, like tertians,
Of common likings, which make some deplore
What they should laugh at - the mere ague still
Of men's regard, the fever or the chill.

''Tis not in mortals to command success:
But do you more, Sempronius - don't deserve it,'
And take my word, you won't have any less.
Be wary, watch the time, and always serve it;
Give gently way, when there's too great a press;
And for your conscience, only learn to nerve it,
For, like a racer, or a boxer training,
'Twill make, if proved, vast efforts without paining.

Lord Henry also liked to be superior,
As most men do, the little or the great;
The very lowest find out an inferior,
At least they think so, to exert their state
Upon: for there are very few things wearier
Than solitary Pride's oppressive weight,
Which mortals generously would divide,
By bidding others carry while they ride.

In birth, in rank, in fortune likewise equal,
O'er Juan he could no distinction claim;
In years he had the advantage of time's sequel;
And, as he thought, in country much the same -
Because bold Britons have a tongue and free quill,
At which all modern nations vainly aim;
And the Lord Henry was a great debater,
So that few members kept the house up later.

These were advantages: and then he thought -
It was his foible, but by no means sinister -
That few or none more than himself had caught
Court mysteries, having been himself a minister:
He liked to teach that which he had been taught,
And greatly shone whenever there had been a stir;
And reconciled all qualities which grace man,
Always a patriot, and sometimes a placeman.

He liked the gentle Spaniard for his gravity;
He almost honour'd him for his docility;
Because, though young, he acquiesced with suavity,
Or contradicted but with proud humility.
He knew the world, and would not see depravity
In faults which sometimes show the soil's fertility,
If that the weeds o'erlive not the first crop -
For then they are very difficult to stop.

And then he talk'd with him about Madrid,
Constantinople, and such distant places;
Where people always did as they were bid,
Or did what they should not with foreign graces.
Of coursers also spake they: Henry rid
Well, like most Englishmen, and loved the races;
And Juan, like a true-born Andalusian,
Could back a horse, as despots ride a Russian.

And thus acquaintance grew, at noble routs,
And diplomatic dinners, or at other -
For Juan stood well both with Ins and Outs,
As in freemasonry a higher brother.
Upon his talent Henry had no doubts;
His manner show'd him sprung from a high mother;
And all men like to show their hospitality
To him whose breeding matches with his quality.

At Blank-Blank Square;- for we will break no squares
By naming streets: since men are so censorious,
And apt to sow an author's wheat with tares,
Reaping allusions private and inglorious,
Where none were dreamt of, unto love's affairs,
Which were, or are, or are to be notorious,
That therefore do I previously declare,
Lord Henry's mansion was in Blank-Blank Square.

Also there bin another pious reason
For making squares and streets anonymous;
Which is, that there is scarce a single season
Which doth not shake some very splendid house
With some slight heart-quake of domestic treason -
A topic scandal doth delight to rouse:
Such I might stumble over unawares,
Unless I knew the very chastest squares.

'Tis true, I might have chosen Piccadilly,
A place where peccadillos are unknown;
But I have motives, whether wise or silly,
For letting that pure sanctuary alone.
Therefore I name not square, street, place, until I
Find one where nothing naughty can be shown,
A vestal shrine of innocence of heart:

At Henry's mansion then, in Blank-Blank Square,
Was Juan a recherche, welcome guest,
As many other noble scions were;
And some who had but talent for their crest;
Or wealth, which is a passport every where;
Or even mere fashion, which indeed's the best
Recommendation; and to be well drest
Will very often supersede the rest.

And since 'there's safety in a multitude
Of counsellors,' as Solomon has said,
Or some one for him, in some sage, grave mood;-
Indeed we see the daily proof display'd
In senates, at the bar, in wordy feud,
Where'er collective wisdom can parade,
Which is the only cause that we can guess
Of Britain's present wealth and happiness;-

But as 'there's safety' grafted in the number
'Of counsellors' for men, thus for the sex
A large acquaintance lets not Virtue slumber;
Or should it shake, the choice will more perplex -
Variety itself will more encumber.
'Midst many rocks we guard more against wrecks;
And thus with women: howsoe'er it shocks some's
Self-love, there's safety in a crowd of coxcombs.

But Adeline had not the least occasion
For such a shield, which leaves but little merit
To virtue proper, or good education.
Her chief resource was in her own high spirit,
Which judged mankind at their due estimation;
And for coquetry, she disdain'd to wear it:
Secure of admiration, its impression
Was faint, as of an every-day possession.

To all she was polite without parade;
To some she show'd attention of that kind
Which flatters, but is flattery convey'd
In such a sort as cannot leave behind
A trace unworthy either wife or maid;-
A gentle, genial courtesy of mind,
To those who were, or pass'd for meritorious,
Just to console sad glory for being glorious;

Which is in all respects, save now and then,
A dull and desolate appendage. Gaze
Upon the shades of those distinguish'd men
Who were or are the puppet-shows of praise,
The praise of persecution; gaze again
On the most favour'd; and amidst the blaze
Of sunset halos o'er the laurel-brow'd,
What can ye recognise?--a gilded cloud.

There also was of course in Adeline
That calm patrician polish in the address,
Which ne'er can pass the equinoctial line
Of any thing which nature would express;
Just as a mandarin finds nothing fine,-
At least his manner suffers not to guess
That any thing he views can greatly please.
Perhaps we have borrow'd this from the Chinese -

Perhaps from Horace: his 'Nil admirari'
Was what he call'd the 'Art of Happiness;'
An art on which the artists greatly vary,
And have not yet attain'd to much success.
However, 'tis expedient to be wary:
Indifference certes don't produce distress;
And rash enthusiasm in good society
Were nothing but a moral inebriety.

But Adeline was not indifferent: for
(Now for a common-place!) beneath the snow,
As a volcano holds the lava more
Within--et caetera. Shall I go on?--No!
I hate to hunt down a tired metaphor,
So let the often-used volcano go.
Poor thing! How frequently, by me and others,
It hath been stirr'd up till its smoke quite smothers!

I'll have another figure in a trice:-
What say you to a bottle of champagne?
Frozen into a very vinous ice,
Which leaves few drops of that immortal rain,
Yet in the very centre, past all price,
About a liquid glassful will remain;
And this is stronger than the strongest grape
Could e'er express in its expanded shape:

'Tis the whole spirit brought to a quintessence;
And thus the chilliest aspects may concentre
A hidden nectar under a cold presence.
And such are many - though I only meant her
From whom I now deduce these moral lessons,
On which the Muse has always sought to enter.
And your cold people are beyond all price,
When once you have broken their confounded ice.

But after all they are a North-West Passage
Unto the glowing India of the soul;
And as the good ships sent upon that message
Have not exactly ascertain'd the Pole
(Though Parry's efforts look a lucky presage),
Thus gentlemen may run upon a shoal;
For if the Pole's not open, but all frost
(A chance still), 'tis a voyage or vessel lost.

And young beginners may as well commence
With quiet cruising o'er the ocean woman;
While those who are not beginners should have sense
Enough to make for port, ere time shall summon
With his grey signal-flag; and the past tense,
The dreary 'Fuimus' of all things human,
Must be declined, while life's thin thread's spun out
Between the gaping heir and gnawing gout.

But heaven must be diverted; its diversion
Is sometimes truculent - but never mind:
The world upon the whole is worth the assertion
(If but for comfort) that all things are kind:
And that same devilish doctrine of the Persian,
Of the two principles, but leaves behind
As many doubts as any other doctrine
Has ever puzzled Faith withal, or yoked her in.

The English winter - ending in July,
To recommence in August - now was done.
'Tis the postilion's paradise: wheels fly;
On roads, east, south, north, west, there is a run.
But for post-horses who finds sympathy?
Man's pity's for himself, or for his son,
Always premising that said son at college
Has not contracted much more debt than knowledge.

The London winter's ended in July -
Sometimes a little later. I don't err
In this: whatever other blunders lie
Upon my shoulders, here I must aver
My Muse a glass of weatherology;
For parliament is our barometer:
Let radicals its other acts attack,
Its sessions form our only almanack.

When its quicksilver's down at zero,--lo
Coach, chariot, luggage, baggage, equipage!
Wheels whirl from Carlton palace to Soho,
And happiest they who horses can engage;
The turnpikes glow with dust; and Rotten Row
Sleeps from the chivalry of this bright age;
And tradesmen, with long bills and longer faces,
Sigh - as the postboys fasten on the traces.

They and their bills, 'Arcadians both,' are left
To the Greek kalends of another session.
Alas! to them of ready cash bereft,
What hope remains? Of hope the full possession,
Or generous draft, conceded as a gift,
At a long date - till they can get a fresh one -
Hawk'd about at a discount, small or large;
Also the solace of an overcharge.

But these are trifles. Downward flies my lord,
Nodding beside my lady in his carriage.
Away! away! 'Fresh horses!' are the word,
And changed as quickly as hearts after marriage;
The obsequious landlord hath the change restored;
The postboys have no reason to disparage
Their fee; but ere the water'd wheels may hiss hence,
The ostler pleads too for a reminiscence.

'Tis granted; and the valet mounts the dickey -
That gentleman of lords and gentlemen;
Also my lady's gentlewoman, tricky,
Trick'd out, but modest more than poet's pen
Can paint,- 'Cosi viaggino i Ricchi!'
(Excuse a foreign slipslop now and then,
If but to show I've travell'd; and what's travel,
Unless it teaches one to quote and cavil?)

The London winter and the country summer
Were well nigh over. 'Tis perhaps a pity,
When nature wears the gown that doth become her,
To lose those best months in a sweaty city,
And wait until the nightingale grows dumber,
Listening debates not very wise or witty,
Ere patriots their true country can remember;-
But there 's no shooting (save grouse) till September.

I've done with my tirade. The world was gone;
The twice two thousand, for whom earth was made,
Were vanish'd to be what they call alone -
That is, with thirty servants for parade,
As many guests, or more; before whom groan
As many covers, duly, daily, laid.
Let none accuse Old England's hospitality -
Its quantity is but condensed to quality.

Lord Henry and the Lady Adeline
Departed like the rest of their compeers,
The peerage, to a mansion very fine;
The Gothic Babel of a thousand years.
None than themselves could boast a longer line,
Where time through heroes and through beauties steers;
And oaks as olden as their pedigree
Told of their sires, a tomb in every tree.

A paragraph in every paper told
Of their departure: such is modern fame:
'Tis pity that it takes no farther hold
Than an advertisement, or much the same;
When, ere the ink be dry, the sound grows cold.
The Morning Post was foremost to proclaim -
'Departure, for his country seat, to-day,
Lord H. Amundeville and Lady A.

'We understand the splendid host intends
To entertain, this autumn, a select
And numerous party of his noble friends;
'Midst whom we have heard, from sources quite correct,
With many more by rank and fashion deck'd;
Also a foreigner of high condition,
The envoy of the secret Russian mission.'

And thus we see - who doubts the Morning Post?
(Whose articles are like the 'Thirty -nine,'
Which those most swear to who believe them most)-
Our gay Russ Spaniard was ordain'd to shine,
Deck'd by the rays reflected from his host,
With those who, Pope says, 'greatly daring dine.'
'T is odd, but true,--last war the News abounded
More with these dinners than the kill'd or wounded;-

As thus: 'On Thursday there was a grand dinner;
Present, Lords A. B. C.'- Earls, dukes, by name
Announced with no less pomp than victory's winner:
Then underneath, and in the very same
Column; date, 'Falmouth. There has lately been here
The Slap-dash regiment, so well known to fame,
Whose loss in the late action we regret:
The vacancies are fill'd up - see Gazette.'

To Norman Abbey whirl'd the noble pair,-
An old, old monastery once, and now
Still older mansion; of a rich and rare
Mix'd Gothic, such as artists all allow
Few specimens yet left us can compare
Withal: it lies perhaps a little low,
Because the monks preferr'd a hill behind,
To shelter their devotion from the wind.

It stood embosom'd in a happy valley,
Crown'd by high woodlands, where the Druid oak
Stood like Caractacus in act to rally
His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunderstroke;
And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
The dappled foresters - as day awoke,
The branching stag swept down with all his herd,
To quaff a brook which murmur'd like a bird.

Before the mansion lay a lucid lake,
Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
By a river, which its soften'd way did take
In currents through the calmer water spread
Around: the wildfowl nestled in the brake
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed:
The woods sloped downwards to its brink, and stood
With their green faces fix'd upon the flood.

Its outlet dash'd into a deep cascade,
Sparkling with foam, until again subsiding,
Its shriller echoes - like an infant made
Quiet - sank into softer ripples, gliding
Into a rivulet; and thus allay'd,
Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
Its windings through the woods; now clear, now blue,
According as the skies their shadows threw.

A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile
(While yet the church was Rome's) stood half apart
In a grand arch, which once screen'd many an aisle.
These last had disappear'd - a loss to art:
The first yet frown'd superbly o'er the soil,
And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
Which mourn'd the power of time's or tempest's march,
In gazing on that venerable arch.

Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
Twelve saints had once stood sanctified in stone;
But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
But in the war which struck Charles from his throne,
When each house was a fortalice, as tell
The annals of full many a line undone,-
The gallant cavaliers, who fought in vain
For those who knew not to resign or reign.

But in a higher niche, alone, but crowned,
The Virgin Mother of the God -born Child,
With her Son in her blessed arms, look'd round,
Spared by some chance when all beside was spoil'd;
She made the earth below seem holy ground.
This may be superstition, weak or wild,
But even the faintest relics of a shrine
Of any worship wake some thoughts divine.

A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
Shorn of its glass of thousand colourings,
Through which the deepen'd glories once could enter,
Streaming from off the sun like seraph's wings,
Now yawns all desolate: now loud, now fainter,
The gale sweeps through its fretwork, and oft sings
The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire
Lie with their hallelujahs quench'd like fire.

But in the noontide of the moon, and when
The wind is winged from one point of heaven,
There moans a strange unearthly sound, which then
Is musical - a dying accent driven
Through the huge arch, which soars and sinks again.
Some deem it but the distant echo given
Back to the night wind by the waterfall,
And harmonised by the old choral wall:

Others, that some original shape, or form
Shaped by decay perchance, hath given the power
(Though less than that of Memnon's statue, warm
In Egypt's rays, to harp at a fix'd hour)
To this grey ruin, with a voice to charm.
Sad, but serene, it sweeps o'er tree or tower;
The cause I know not, nor can solve; but such
The fact:- I 've heard it - once perhaps too much.

Amidst the court a Gothic fountain play'd,
Symmetrical, but deck'd with carvings quaint -
Strange faces, like to men in masquerade,
And here perhaps a monster, there a saint:
The spring gush'd through grim mouths of granite made,
And sparkled into basins, where it spent
Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles,
Like man's vain glory, and his vainer troubles.

The mansion's self was vast and venerable,
With more of the monastic than has been
Elsewhere preserved: the cloisters still were stable,
The cells, too, and refectory, I ween:
An exquisite small chapel had been able,
Still unimpair'd, to decorate the scene;
The rest had been reform'd, replaced, or sunk,
And spoke more of the baron than the monk.

Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, join'd
By no quite lawful marriage of the arts,
Might shock a connoisseur; but when combined,
Form'd a whole which, irregular in parts,
Yet left a grand impression on the mind,
At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts:
We gaze upon a giant for his stature,
Nor judge at first if all be true to nature.

Steel barons, molten the next generation
To silken rows of gay and garter'd earls,
Glanced from the walls in goodly preservation;
And Lady Marys blooming into girls,
With fair long locks, had also kept their station;
And countesses mature in robes and pearls:
Also some beauties of Sir Peter Lely,
Whose drapery hints we may admire them freely.

Judges in very formidable ermine
Were there, with brows that did not much invite
The accused to think their lordships would determine
His cause by leaning much from might to right:
Bishops, who had not left a single sermon:
Attorneys -general, awful to the sight,
As hinting more (unless our judgments warp us)
Of the 'Star Chamber' than of 'Habeas Corpus.'

Generals, some all in armour, of the old
And iron time, ere lead had ta'en the lead;
Others in wigs of Marlborough's martial fold,
Huger than twelve of our degenerate breed:
Lordlings, with staves of white or keys of gold:
Nimrods, whose canvass scarce contain'd the steed;
And here and there some stern high patriot stood,
Who could not get the place for which he sued.

But ever and anon, to soothe your vision,
Fatigued with these hereditary glories,
There rose a Carlo Dolce or a Titian,
Or wilder group of savage Salvatore's;
Here danced Albano's boys, and here the sea shone
In Vernet's ocean lights; and there the stories
Of martyrs awed, as Spagnoletto tainted
His brush with all the blood of all the sainted.

Here sweetly spread a landscape of Lorraine;
There Rembrandt made his darkness equal light,
Or gloomy Caravaggio's gloomier stain
Bronzed o'er some lean and stoic anchorite:-
But, lo! a Teniers woos, and not in vain,
Your eyes to revel in a livelier sight:
His bell -mouth'd goblet makes me feel quite Danish
Or Dutch with thirst - What, ho! a flask of Rhenish.

O reader! if that thou canst read,- and know,
'T is not enough to spell, or even to read,
To constitute a reader; there must go
Virtues of which both you and I have need;-
Firstly, begin with the beginning (though
That clause is hard); and secondly, proceed;
Thirdly, commence not with the end - or, sinning
In this sort, end at least with the beginning.

But, reader, thou hast patient been of late,
While I, without remorse of rhyme, or fear,
Have built and laid out ground at such a rate,
Dan Phoebus takes me for an auctioneer.
That poets were so from their earliest date,
By Homer's 'Catalogue of ships' is clear;
But a mere modern must be moderate -
I spare you then the furniture and plate.

The mellow autumn came, and with it came
The promised party, to enjoy its sweets.
The corn is cut, the manor full of game;
The pointer ranges, and the sportsman beats
In russet jacket:- lynx -like is his aim;
Full grows his bag, and wonderful his feats.
Ah, nut -brown partridges! Ah, brilliant pheasants!
And ah, ye poachers!- 'T is no sport for peasants.

An English autumn, though it hath no vines,
Blushing with Bacchant coronals along
The paths, o'er which the far festoon entwines
The red grape in the sunny lands of song,
Hath yet a purchased choice of choicest wines;
The claret light, and the Madeira strong.
If Britain mourn her bleakness, we can tell her,
The very best of vineyards is the cellar.

Then, if she hath not that serene decline
Which makes the southern autumn's day appear
As if 't would to a second spring resign
The season, rather than to winter drear,
Of in -door comforts still she hath a mine,-
The sea -coal fires the 'earliest of the year;'
Without doors, too, she may compete in mellow,
As what is lost in green is gain'd in yellow.

And for the effeminate villeggiatura -
Rife with more horns than hounds - she hath the chase,
So animated that it might allure
Saint from his beads to join the jocund race;
Even Nimrod's self might leave the plains of Dura,
And wear the Melton jacket for a space:
If she hath no wild boars, she hath a tame
Preserve of bores, who ought to be made game.

The noble guests, assembled at the Abbey,
Consisted of - we give the sex the pas -
The Duchess of Fitz -Fulke; the Countess Crabby;
The Ladies Scilly, Busey;- Miss Eclat,
Miss Bombazeen, Miss Mackstay, Miss O'Tabby,
And Mrs. Rabbi, the rich banker's squaw;
Also the honourable Mrs. Sleep,
Who look'd a white lamb, yet was a black sheep:

With other Countesses of Blank - but rank;
At once the 'lie' and the 'elite' of crowds;
Who pass like water filter'd in a tank,
All purged and pious from their native clouds;
Or paper turn'd to money by the Bank:
No matter how or why, the passport shrouds
The 'passee' and the past; for good society
Is no less famed for tolerance than piety,-

That is, up to a certain point; which point
Forms the most difficult in punctuation.
Appearances appear to form the joint
On which it hinges in a higher station;
And so that no explosion cry 'Aroint
Thee, witch!' or each Medea has her Jason;
Or (to the point with Horace and with Pulci)
'Omne tulit punctum, quae miscuit utile dulci.'

I can't exactly trace their rule of right,
Which hath a little leaning to a lottery.
I 've seen a virtuous woman put down quite
By the mere combination of a coterie;
Also a so -so matron boldly fight
Her way back to the world by dint of plottery,
And shine the very Siria of the spheres,
Escaping with a few slight, scarless sneers.

I have seen more than I 'll say:- but we will see
How our villeggiatura will get on.
The party might consist of thirty -three
Of highest caste - the Brahmins of the ton.
I have named a few, not foremost in degree,
But ta'en at hazard as the rhyme may run.
By way of sprinkling, scatter'd amongst these,
There also were some Irish absentees.

There was Parolles, too, the legal bully,
Who limits all his battles to the bar
And senate: when invited elsewhere, truly,
He shows more appetite for words than war.
There was the young bard Rackrhyme, who had newly
Come out and glimmer'd as a six weeks' star.
There was Lord Pyrrho, too, the great freethinker;
And Sir John Pottledeep, the mighty drinker.

There was the Duke of Dash, who was a - duke,
'Ay, every inch a' duke; there were twelve peers
Like Charlemagne's - and all such peers in look
And intellect, that neither eyes nor ears
For commoners had ever them mistook.
There were the six Miss Rawbolds - pretty dears!
All song and sentiment; whose hearts were set
Less on a convent than a coronet.

There were four Honourable Misters, whose
Honour was more before their names than after;
There was the preux Chevalier de la Ruse,
Whom France and Fortune lately deign'd to waft here,
Whose chiefly harmless talent was to amuse;
But the clubs found it rather serious laughter,
Because - such was his magic power to please -
The dice seem'd charm'd, too, with his repartees.

There was Dick Dubious, the metaphysician,
Who loved philosophy and a good dinner;
Angle, the soi -disant mathematician;
Sir Henry Silvercup, the great race -winner.
There was the Reverend Rodomont Precisian,
Who did not hate so much the sin as sinner;
And Lord Augustus Fitz -Plantagenet,
Good at all things, but better at a bet.

There was jack jargon, the gigantic guardsman;
And General Fireface, famous in the field,
A great tactician, and no less a swordsman,
Who ate, last war, more Yankees than he kill'd.
There was the waggish Welsh Judge, Jefferies Hardsman,
In his grave office so completely skill'd,
That when a culprit came far condemnation,
He had his judge's joke for consolation.

Good company 's a chess -board - there are kings,
Queens, bishops, knights, rooks, pawns; the world 's a game;
Save that the puppets pull at their own strings,
Methinks gay Punch hath something of the same.
My Muse, the butterfly hath but her wings,
Not stings, and flits through ether without aim,
Alighting rarely:- were she but a hornet,
Perhaps there might be vices which would mourn it.

I had forgotten - but must not forget -
An orator, the latest of the session,
Who had deliver'd well a very set
Smooth speech, his first and maidenly transgression
Upon debate: the papers echoed yet
With his debut, which made a strong impression,
And rank'd with what is every day display'd -
'The best first speech that ever yet was made.'

Proud of his 'Hear hims!' proud, too, of his vote
And lost virginity of oratory,
Proud of his learning (just enough to quote),
He revell'd in his Ciceronian glory:
With memory excellent to get by rote,
With wit to hatch a pun or tell a story,
Graced with some merit, and with more effrontery,
'His country's pride,' he came down to the country.

There also were two wits by acclamation,
Longbow from Ireland, Strongbow from the Tweed,
Both lawyers and both men of education;
But Strongbow's wit was of more polish'd breed:
Longbow was rich in an imagination
As beautiful and bounding as a steed,
But sometimes stumbling over a potato,-
While Strongbow's best things might have come from Cato.

Strongbow was like a new -tuned harpsichord;
But Longbow wild as an AEolian harp,
With which the winds of heaven can claim accord,
And make a music, whether flat or sharp.
Of Strongbow's talk you would not change a word:
At Longbow's phrases you might sometimes carp:
Both wits - one born so, and the other bred -
This by his heart, his rival by his head.

If all these seem a heterogeneous mas
To be assembled at a country seat,
Yet think, a specimen of every class
Is better than a humdrum tete -a -tete.
The days of Comedy are gone, alas!
When Congreve's fool could vie with Moliere's bete:
Society is smooth'd to that excess,
That manners hardly differ more than dress.

Our ridicules are kept in the back -ground -
Ridiculous enough, but also dull;
Professions, too, are no more to be found
Professional; and there is nought to cull
Of folly's fruit; for though your fools abound,
They're barren, and not worth the pains to pull.
Society is now one polish'd horde,
Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.

But from being farmers, we turn gleaners, gleaning
The scanty but right -well thresh'd ears of truth;
And, gentle reader! when you gather meaning,
You may be Boaz, and I - modest Ruth.
Farther I 'd quote, but Scripture intervening
Forbids. it great impression in my youth
Was made by Mrs. Adams, where she cries,
'That Scriptures out of church are blasphemies.'

But what we can we glean in this vile age
Of chaff, although our gleanings be not grist.
I must not quite omit the talking sage,
Kit -Cat, the famous Conversationist,
Who, in his common -place book, had a page
Prepared each morn for evenings. 'List, oh, list!'-
'Alas, poor ghost!'- What unexpected woes
Await those who have studied their bon -mots!

Firstly, they must allure the conversation
By many windings to their clever clinch;
And secondly, must let slip no occasion,
Nor bate (abate) their hearers of an inch,
But take an ell - and make a great sensation,
If possible; and thirdly, never flinch
When some smart talker puts them to the test,
But seize the last word, which no doubt 's the best.

Lord Henry and his lady were the hosts;
The party we have touch'd on were the guests:
Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts
To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.
I will not dwell upon ragouts or roasts,
Albeit all human history attests
That happiness for man - the hungry sinner!-
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.

Witness the lands which 'flow'd with milk and honey,'
Held out unto the hungry Israelites;
To this we have added since, the love of money,
The only sort of pleasure which requites.
Youth fades, and leaves our days no longer sunny;
We tire of mistresses and parasites;
But oh, ambrosial cash! Ah! who would lose thee?
When we no more can use, or even abuse thee!

The gentlemen got up betimes to shoot,
Or hunt: the young, because they liked the sport -
The first thing boys like after play and fruit;
The middle -aged to make the day more short;
For ennui is a growth of English root,
Though nameless in our language:- we retort
The fact for words, and let the French translate
That awful yawn which sleep can not abate.

The elderly walk'd through the library,
And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures,
Or saunter'd through the gardens piteously,
And made upon the hot -house several strictures,
Or rode a nag which trotted not too high,
Or on the morning papers read their lectures,
Or on the watch their longing eyes would fix,
Longing at sixty for the hour of six.

But none were 'gene:' the great hour of union
Was rung by dinner's knell; till then all were
Masters of their own time - or in communion,
Or solitary, as they chose to bear
The hours, which how to pass is but to few known.
Each rose up at his own, and had to spare
What time he chose for dress, and broke his fast
When, where, and how he chose for that repast.

The ladies - some rouged, some a little pale -
Met the morn as they might. If fine, they rode,
Or walk'd; if foul, they read, or told a tale,
Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from abroad;
Discuss'd the fashion which might next prevail,
And settled bonnets by the newest code,
Or cramm'd twelve sheets into one little letter,
To make each correspondent a new debtor.

For some had absent lovers, all had friends.
The earth has nothing like a she epistle,
And hardly heaven - because it never ends.
I love the mystery of a female missal,
Which, like a creed, ne'er says all it intends,
But full of cunning as Ulysses' whistle,
When he allured poor Dolon:- you had better
Take care what you reply to such a letter.

Then there were billiards; cards, too, but no dice;-
Save in the clubs no man of honour plays;-
Boats when 't was water, skating when 't was ice,
And the hard frost destroy'd the scenting days:
And angling, too, that solitary vice,
Whatever Izaak Walton sings or says;
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it.

With evening came the banquet and the wine;
The conversazione; the duet,
Attuned by voices more or less divine
(My heart or head aches with the memory yet).
The four Miss Rawbolds in a glee would shine;
But the two youngest loved more to be set
Down to the harp - because to music's charms
They added graceful necks, white hands and arms.

Sometimes a dance (though rarely on field days,
For then the gentlemen were rather tired)
Display'd some sylph -like figures in its maze;
Then there was small -talk ready when required;
Flirtation - but decorous; the mere praise
Of charms that should or should not be admired.
The hunters fought their fox -hunt o'er again,
And then retreated soberly - at ten.

The politicians, in a nook apart,
Discuss'd the world, and settled all the spheres;
The wits watch'd every loophole for their art,
To introduce a bon -mot head and ears;
Small is the rest of those who would be smart,
A moment's good thing may have cost them years
Before they find an hour to introduce it;
And then, even then, some bore may make them lose it.

But all was gentle and aristocratic
In this our party; polish'd, smooth, and cold,
As Phidian forms cut out of marble Attic.
There now are no Squire Westerns as of old;
And our Sophias are not so emphatic,
But fair as then, or fairer to behold.
We have no accomplish'd blackguards, like Tom Jones,
But gentlemen in stays, as stiff as stones.

They separated at an early hour;
That is, ere midnight - which is London's noon:
But in the country ladies seek their bower
A little earlier than the waning moon.
Peace to the slumbers of each folded flower -
May the rose call back its true colour soon!
Good hours of fair cheeks are the fairest tinters,
And lower the price of rouge - at least some winters.

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When I Long During The Dark Night

When I long during the dark night,
with the stars shining bright above me
it's without the earth's viciousness,
it's as if Your love hangs in those lights

and there is no fear, no pain,
only the sparks of Your fire that burns,
it's as if all my problems disappear suddenly
under the peaceful care of Your fatherly hand.

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In The Quiet Of The Long Dark Night

IN THE QUIET OF THE LONG DARK NIGHT


In the quiet of the long dark night,
After a fast day,
I feel myself coming alive again-
The words move in my mind
And on the page.
I am no longer stuck in where I am deeply afraid-
I know I can write
And know I am alive again-
As if all that time waiting and praying
Was only to return me to my better self-
God being with us when we have faith in what we must do.

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Wine by the Fire on a Cold Winter Night

Wine by the fire on a cold winter night a Gelid concordant. The snows of winter has fallen; and the
Winds are decrescent
Wildlife are
Indefatigable
In
Winter-land
Wine by the fire on a cold winter night. Monumental snows are glaciated; and the
Valleys below are elongated
In an alabaster,
Powdery
Splendor.
Engaging winter, where polar bears are denning
And accumbented in a long
Winter sleep. Winter's prelusory; for the translucent amber,
Gild, of autumn to a dulcify
In their joining. As we dine epicurean, in the comforts of clover;
And bonivant on tasty
Wines.
Wine by the fire on a cold winter night as we
Amorously commingle as one in A fervent that's
Second to None And the taste of
Wine by the fire on a cold winter
Night.

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On that cold October Night

On That Cold October Night

We sat on the swing and listened to the dark

The Lake looked holy

undisterbed like a virgin

Pure

Almost innocent

The moon reflected off the water with athority

Like it knew it was sopost to be there on that very lake

The stars were scatted across the sky as if they were waching us

I drew in the night

I took a deep breath

His voice made the unsure streets of my mind sertain

His laugh made me melt

But his touch

Opened up every city to my soul

His Touch

Scremed out my past

His touch made everything I am and ever was

He made my heart know

He was the black to my white

The love to my fight

His every movment made me smile

But I'd never let him know

Where we stood on the beach

I playfully drew a heart in the sand with my feet

He glanced over at me

I half smiled at him

He stepped closer and put his arms around me

'You look cold' He whispered in my ear

The angels sang

I could hear the smile in his voice

He always did this

Played with my emotions like a puppet

He had no idea

That I always thought of him

He was stamped to my thoughts

Stained on my mind

would he ever want me?

Would he ever care?

Would he still hold me when I had greesy hair?

And when I had a bad day

Would he still be around?

Would he still hold me while I was crying curl up on the ground?

He turned my body towred his

Our belly's touched

He stroked my face like I was an expenise peice of velvet

My heart was racing

I could feel my eyes fill up with questions

confusion

He must of noticed cause he let out a chuckle

Then leaned in closer

Was this it?

My once apon a time?

My commence to a new begining?

His perfect eyes shut

His smooth lips seperated

I breathed in the night and all the life around me

Lust pumped through my vains

Like a firework

Like pulling a trigger

Like dropping a bomb

A wave of electricity shot through me

Every inch of my body and soul sparked

I could feel him smiling

The stars danced

The breeze wrapped around us

Bright coloerd leaves scammped across the frosted grass

To go spread the great news

I rested my head on his shoulder

He was finally mine

And like I always knew

When I kissed him

And he kissed me

The world would stop

and we'd both be free

On That Cold October Night

He caught me by surprise

I've always loved surprises

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And Thou Too

The moonlight rolls down like a river,
The silence streams out like a sea;
And far where the eastern winds quiver,
My farewell goes floating to thee.

Like night, when the sunset is fading
And starbeams troop up in the skies,
Through a cold, dark and lonely forever
Gleams the light of the poet eyes.

And sometimes when I am weary,
When the path is thorny and Wild,
I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight,
Back to the eyes that smiled.

And pray that a wreath like a rainbow
May slip from the beautiful past,
And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love
And keep me, and hold me fast.

For the way is not strown with petal soft,
It is covered with hearts that weep,
And the wounds I tread touch a deeper source
Than you think it mine to keep.

Down the years I shall move without you,
Yet ever must feel the blow
That caused me a deeper pain to give
Than you will ever know.

For the tears that dropped on my hands that night
'Neath the mystical shining moon,
Were a sacred dew, consecrated there,
On the rose-altered heart of June.

And the heart that beat against mine like a bird
That is fluttering, wounded sore,
With it's nest all broken, deserted, torn,
Will beat there forevermore.

But the world moves on, and the piteous Earth
Still groans in the monster pain;
And the star that leads me points onward yet,
Though the red drops fall like rain!

Ah, not to a blaze of light I go,
Nor shouts of a triumph train;
I go down to kiss the dregs of woe,
And drink up the Cup of Pain.

And whether a scaffold or crucifix waits
'Neath the light of my silver star,
I know and I care not: I only know
I shall pause not though it be far.

Though a crucified life or an agonized death,
Though long, or quick and sharp,
I am firmly wrought in the endless thread
Of Destiny's woof and warp.

And I do not shrink, though a wave of pain
Sobs over me now and then,
As I think of those "saddest of all sad words,"
The pitiful "might have been."

"It might have been"— it is not to be;
And the tones of your "swan's farewell"
Ring sadly, solemnly deep to me
Like the voice of a sobbing bell.

Ay, gather your petals and take them back
To the dead heart under the dew;
And crown it again with the red love bloom,
For the dead are always true.

But go not "back to the sediment"
In the slime of the moaning sea,
For a better world belongs to you,
And a better friend to me.

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Patrick White

The Moon A Blade Of Stillness

The moon a blade of stillness honed on the heart
of a cold, dark night
without lunacy, love, or forgiveness.
Indian tobacco and milkweed pods
like the fossils of shucked clam shells
in the middens of the Neanderthals
or the twisted wombs of fortune cookies
that were long ago cracked open
to spill their good fortune on the wind.
The morning dove of the loveletter flown
they’re left with nothing but the envelope.
The wind gathers and swirls gusts of snow
across the ice-glazed fields
as if someone were about to rail coke on a mirror
like the Milky Way
and blew it big time into a gust of stars.
Venus and the moon,
perfume on a wrist
with a wound and a scar.
The cold air slashes my nostrils.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen
go out in the midday sun.
This is the light-deprived Canadian version
of the same thing
at midnight when everything
is frozen in space and time
like the numb desolation
on the face of a lost Arctic exploration
as if we were all wearing the same death mask
because whether you’re a nationalist,
a naturalist, or just winging it on your own,
when it’s this cold and birds
are dropping from the sky
like words and notes from the lyrics
somebody forgot to mime,
one size fits all.
Lethal the burning clarity of the cold
when it rimes your mouth
with your own breath
with the salt of the earth
and the lime of the moon
as if it were just one big celestial grave pit,
the cold stone of the crone
that buries people in her heart
like a locket she can’t open from the inside.
Life in these brutal windswept fields
desolate as a used calender
or a losing ticket in the lottery
of predictable apocalypses
that didn’t even remotely come true
like Mayans in igloos at the top of the temple stairs
one for each day of the year
that went on living without them.
Or the astronomical catastrophe
of nuclear winter in Puerta Vallarta,
according to a pyramidal sun dial
that got it wrong
from the late Triassic and beyond.
Fire and ice pulled like a blade
that wouldn’t be bound to a heart of stone.
Light pours out like gold and honey
from the dark ore of a new moon
opening its eyelids for the first time
since it went into a coma
like a temporary eclipse of its sanity.
Everybody obsessed with death in the end-times,
forgetting from the universe’s point of view,
there’s thirteen ways of looking a blackbird
and fourteen in reverse
and they’re all as true
as whole numbers on a clock
doing a sword dance with time.
Life lines unravel like the frayed ends
at the delta of a river about to enter the sea.
But what could be so terminal
about returning to the source
of where everything begins
like the universe with a Big Bang
that has continued
like an executioner’s drum roll
ever since the moon rose up
like a two-bladed ax in the east
and learned to cut both ways
by the time it fell in the west
on the white napes of the birch-groves
swanning with their arms outstretched
like a constellation who’s time has come
to kiss the crucifix like a vow of silence
and have done with trying to maintain the peace
like a truce with the truth of severance
as if it were their last best hope for deliverance.
And if not deliverance, then at the very least,
to let their branches pile up at their feet
and let the infallible stars set fire to them
like self-immolating heretics
or Joan of Arc in the inferno
of her martyrdom
among treacherous friends
and Burgundian enemies alike
as history neglects to write
into the hagiography of trees
the black stake she was burnt at
and suffered as much as she
for things it never meant to stand for
like the backbone of a saint
when her heart and her legs
gave out under her
like the rungs of a burning ladder
propped against the windowsills of heaven,
her feet grounded in the snake pit
that bound her to the earth.
But enough said, or too much,
or too little, or nothing at all.
Jupiter returns retrograde to Pisces
at its stationary point in the west
for thirty-five nights
and then returns to the Ram
to disappear behind the sun in Taurus.
Castor and Pollux in the Twins
and Capella and Nath and the kids
in Auriga the Charioteer.
Orion holding its club up like the glyph
of the mythically inflated victory truce
of Ramses the II’s battle with the Hittites
at Kardesh, his figure
ten times more imposing than the rest
as he puts his foot on the chest of his enemies
and hopes like stars, snow,
blood and flesh, fire and ice,
his few sparks of life will last.
I’ve always seen it that way somehow.
What hunter would go out with a club
to beat a wild animal to death
unless his prey were human
with a skull that was easy to hit?
Ergo. Kardesh. Forensic mythology
on the few bones
of the original fireflies that are left to us
like the prehistoric vertebrae
of great whales that died in a bay of the desert,
or the skeletons of humming birds
as delicate as the stalks of wild oats
encrypted into the snow
like a hieroglyph for help
frozen into a bottle of ice
that took thousands of light years to get here
only to discover
that we’re as helpless as they are.
That imagination and wonder
are the mind’s way of making sure
in the desolate immensities
of these starfields overhead
and this glacial acre
of hard ground beneath our feet
impervious to the coffins
and roots of our solitude,
we’re not estranged
by what we’re looking at.
That the emptiness of the mystery
is the source of all our metaphors.
The dark mother. The muse.
Our last recourse.
Our only hope of rescue from ourselves.
Interactive similitudes in a void with no likeness.

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Long Black Limousine (set I)

Down through the city their fancy cars are such a sight to see
At first look your rich friends that took you innocently
That now they finally called you home to me
Papers told about you lost your life
Of the party and the famous crash that night
Racing on the highway that turns nobody saint
Now you're driving in that long black limousine

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Cold Winter Night

It's on cold winter nights such as this,
When memories fill my mind of what seems so long ago.
I miss the old friendships of those who have gone away,
And I wish I could renew.
On cold winter nights such as this,
It is then that a touch comes back to me,
One from long ago,
And there it lingers,
In my memory,
Leaving me to wonder,
If I had dreamed it all.
On this cold winter night,
When your touch comes back to me.

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Stars in the dark night

Stars in the dark night, look like angels playing in the sky,
they twinkle and give light
radiant and bright bring life to,
silent sleepy night,
there aura fill the sky with long lasting grace,
whole night stars in sky are not tired of filling,
empty night with their glow taking away the lovers sighs,
stars twinkle never fades like blessing of god given to us,
for living life, their might changes the lonely night into maiden,
beautiful and filled with starry feeling in the eyes..

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The Cold, Dark Wind

A cold wind blows 'cross the mountainside
Clouds fill the sky
Overcoming with their dark'ning might
Beasts of darkness that shun the light
Only come out when the wind blows 'cross the night sky
Gath'ring the beasts of darkness that shun the light

Mighty, mighty
Storms igniting
Ever-changing with the cold wind
That blows through the trees
An unknown evil has a grip on this world
With a dreadful fate is about to show
That there is good, but more is sin
Left to fly with that cold, dark wind

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The night winds

The night winds say~

'You shoulda' stayed, girl'

The night wind cries,

'You shouldn't have left, girl'

And the night winds say,

'He could've been your rock, girl'


The night winds softly bellows

'He was the one for you'

The night winds say

'I wouldn't have left your side, girl.'

The night winds cries demandingly

'You're gonna miss me in the morning, girl.'


When you feel this night wind

It will clearly say to you;

'We are lonely, dear one

I miss him…we shouldn't have left him, '

And your night wind

Will [be]come cold without me…..

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The Dark Night Of The Soul

When we are in the dark night of the soul,

We gasp and flounder within this hole

Of mire and darkness, with no light,

But hark, look up and see the sight,

Of smiling angel faces true.

Holding hands and beckoning you,

To rise above the darkness tight,

Fly and flow, into the light.

Once more to find our love's true end,

As thro' Universe, our footsteps wend.

To free the soul, from darkness black.

Taking us forward, to never look back,

But forward always into the peace,

And joy and calm as horrors cease.

And then we turn and head for home,

Until once more, our steps will roam.

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The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair

Whoah, the girl I love, she got long black wavy hair
I do declare!
The girl I love, yeah, she got long black wavy hair,
Ah yeah,
Her mother and her father, lordy,
They sure dont, sure dont allow me there.
Well i, Im goin back to my baby, lord i,
I swear I wouldnt lie, yeah
I never saw that sweet woman yeah in-a
A-five long years gone by, yeah.
Well Im goin ho__me, Im goin home
cause shes a sweet little darlin, ah
I said I been away, ahh-far too long,
I been away too long.
Take it jimmy!
Well, my baby when...
She shakes just like a willow tree,
Yes she does.
My baby, when she walks, ya know
She shakes like a willow tree, yeah.
Ah-that mean, mistreatin baby she know she
Hop, hops all over me.
Oooh.
Yeah!
Alright!
Hops over me...

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Jackie

(Sinead O'connor cover )
Jackie left on a cold, dark night
Telling me he'd be home
Sailed the seas for a hundred years
And left me all alone
Now I've been dead for twenty years
I've been washing the sand with my ghostly tears
Searching the shores for my Jackie-oh
And I remember the day that the young man came
Said, your Jackie's gone, he is lost in the rain
And I ran to the beach
And laid me down
You're all wrong, I said
And they stared to the sand
That man knows the sea like the back of his hand
He'll be back some time
Laughing at you
And I've been waiting all this time
For my man to come, take his hand in mine
And lead me away
To unsailed shores
I've been washing the sand with my salty tears
Searching the shore these long years
And I'll walk the sea forever more
'til I find my Jackie-oh
Jackie-oh
Jackie-oh
Jackie-oh

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Show Me Love

Show me love
Double up
Won't you show me love

Show me love

Cause it's been grey for so many years

I just wanna what is mine
Your love for me wait and see
I'm not trying to seduce you
Though it's a long and cold dark night
You are the one you are
I would never try to change you
I want to see who you are inside

Show me love
And how to share it
I'll give you double up in return
Life is now and meant for living
Cause it's been grey for so many years

Life will never ever be bad under my spell
Kiss and tell
I feel lonely when I see you
Why don't you give me just a smile
You'd make my day in many ways
Just a fragment of your lifetime
Cause the shine in my eyes will tell

Show me love
And how to share it
I'll give you double up in return
Life is now and meant for living
Cause it's been grey for so many years
Won't you show me love

Show me love
Let me know
Double up

Show me love
Show me love (oh oh oh)
Double up (I wanna know)

I

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Long Black Limousine

(words & music by v. stovall - b. george)
Theres a long line of mourners
Driving down our little street
Their fancy cars are such a sight to see, oh yea
Theyre all rich friends who knew you in the scene
And now theyve finally brought you
Brought you home to me
When you left you know you told me
That some day youd be returnin
In a fancy car, all the town to see, oh yea,
Well now everyone is watching you
You finally had your dream, yea
Youre ridin in a long black limousine
You know the papers told of how you lost your life, oh yea
The party, the party and the fatal crash that night
Well the race along the highway, oh the curve you didnt see
When youre riding in that long black limousine
Through tear filled eyes I watch as you pass by oh yea
A chauffeur, a chauffeur at the wheel dressed up so fine
Well I never, I never, never, never
Oh my heart, all my dreams yea, theyre with you
In that long black limousine
Yea, yea, theyre with you in that long black limousine
Yea, yea, theyre with you in that long black limousine

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